BOATERS are being offered the first chance to drop anchor permanently and enjoy a life on the open water – in the city centre.
British Waterways Scotland is launching a pilot project auctioning off eight residential canal moorings at Leamington Wharf in Edinburgh, more than doubling the number of permanent sites in the Lothians.
The scheme is designed to boost canal use and test market demand ahead of a possible rise in the number of mooring sites in the city. Richard Millar, development manager at British Waterways Scotland, said: “We want to develop the vibrancy of the waterway in Edinburgh.
“In the past two years, we’ve had over 60 enquiries about residential moorings in the city of Edinburgh area – I think that shows pretty good demand.
“We are confident this is an opportunity that people will want to take up. Through this pilot, we want to understand how far that demand extends – how strong it is.
“If we see sufficiently strong demand and get good levels of interest in the auction then we would move to the next level.”
British Waterways is planning to allocate the moorings through an online auction, with each site made available for bids over a period of 28 days.
The highest bidder will have use of the site for one year and be required to have a residential boat in the mooring in six months.
Boaters and business owners today backed the plan, but said measures would have to be taken to ensure the auction does not become over- complicated and elitist.
Gillian Hanley, owner of Crew Architects, which operates from a canal boat in Edinburgh Quay, said: “It would be great if there were more residents in the area as it would mean it’s operated on a 24/7 basis, but it needs to be a mixed community.”